Cluses > Tignes
07/04/2021 - Stage 9 - 145 km - Mountain
On the road
Sub-prefectures: Bonneville, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Thonon-les-Bains
Surface area: 4 388 km2
Specialities : Tartiflette, raclette, fondue savoyarde, diots (sausages), atriaux (pork with liver), crozets, polenta, farcement (grated potato and dried fruit), potato fritters, cardoons (vegetables), tome des Bauges (cheese), bugnes, bescoins (biscuits with aniseed), milk jam, la grolle (gnole with coffee), Savoy cacke, rissoles (pastries with puff pastry), roseaux du Lac (dark chocolates filled with liqueur), génépi.
Sports clubs: Evian-Thonon Gaillard (football), Chevaliers du Lac Annecy (ice hockey), Hockey Club du Mont-Blanc Saint-Gervais-Megève, FCS Rumilly (rugby), alpine skiing.
Competitions: Lake Annecy International Triathlon (June), Lake Annecy International Marathon, swimming across the lake.
Festivals: Venetian Carnival, Annecy International Animation Film Festival (June), "Les Pontons flingueurs" detective film festival (June), Lake Annecy Festival, Italian Film Festival (October), St André Fair (December), OH2 Festival in Saint-Gervais (6 July), Megève Jazz Contest, Pays du Mont-Blanc Baroque Festival.
Main tourist sites: Lake Annecy, Annecy Castle, Mont Blanc and the Sea of Ice, Aravis, winter sports resorts of Chamonix, Saint-Gervais, Megève, Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz.
Economy: watchmaking (Cluses), screw-cutting, mechanics (Dassault, Alcatel), agriculture and agri-food (Reblochon milk production, tome, Evian water), mountain tourism, sports industry (Dynastar, Salomon, Mavic)
Website: https://www.hautesavoie.fr/, www.haute-savoie-tourisme.org/
Km 2.9: Magland (Pop: 3,260)
On the territory of the commune is the ski resort of Flaine, created in 1968, where the current World Cup skier Romane Miradoli grew up. Note the Loche fortified house (14th century), listed and later transformed into an inn.
The Magland sausage
A traditional product of the Arve Valley, the Magland sausage is a kind of smoked dry sausage, dark brown in colour, with compact flesh and a large grain. The uncured version is cooked in water. This sausage, about twenty centimetres long, is made from lean and fat pork minced coarsely. The mixture, lightly seasoned, with a touch of garlic, is stuffed into a pork chowder. Its specificity lies in its smoking: a skilful combination of different woods (fir, beech, etc.) which are slowly consumed at the bottom of the pieces hanging in the smokehouse. This delicate operation takes several days.
This sausage with its remarkable taste qualities is cooked for half an hour in simmering water. It makes a fine dish, surrounded by boiled vegetables (cabbage, potato), or as part of a potée. Dried (sometimes preserved in oil for many months), the same product can be cut into slices like a dry sausage.
Km 11: Sallanches (Pop: 16,050)
Sallanches, a place name common in the Alps, probably derives from the word Salanca, which designates a ravine where a stream flows (cf: calanque). One of the two rivers that water the town is also called the Sallanche. After the Revolution, an important weekly market provided an outlet for the peasants of the area in exchange for the products manufactured by the town's craftsmen. These exchanges made the town prosperous and attracted noble families who built castles and fortified houses there.
1840 remains the most important date in the history of Sallanches: a fire destroyed it almost entirely. Its architectural heritage was destroyed. King Charles-Albert of Savoy-Carignan allocated exceptional funds for reconstruction. The architecture of the reconstructed buildings is in the Sardinian neo-classical style, i.e. very symmetrical buildings with balconies overlooking the street and backyards hidden from direct view. In economic terms, watchmaking appeared around 1880, heralding the future development of screw-cutting.
Sallanches is also a major cycling centre. The town has been the start of a Tour stage three times, in 1968 (Joseph Huysmans victory in Besançon) and in 2003 (Iban Mayo victory in Alpe d'Huez). In 2016, it was Chris Froome who won a time trial to Megève.
Sallanches has also hosted the world road championships twice, in 1964, with Jan Janssen winning, and in 1980, when the rainbow jersey went to Bernard Hinault.
The town in the Mont Blanc region is also home to Charly Mottet, twice fourth in the Tour and a three times stage winner. Finally, Jeannie Longo owned a property here, which she bequeathed to an institution for autistic children.
Km 16.7: Domancy (Pop: 1,900)
Home of the Quechua tents, the town is worth a visit for its Saint-André church, whose bell is listed.
Km 19.6: Côte de Domancy
The Badger's rainbow
1980 was a special year for Bernard Hinault. In the spring, the Badger signed one of the most resounding feats of his career by winning a gruesome Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the snow and cold. At the same time, the Breton became the first Frenchman after Jacques Anquetil to win the Giro d'Italia. Everything went wrong in the Tour de France, however, when the title holder was forced to abandon the race in Pau due to a painful knee injury. He quickly recovered to win a stage of the Tour du Limousin and to start the world championships in Sallanches in good shape. If Hinault had never shone before in the lottery of the World Championships, it was because too flat courses or team intrigues did not favour him. But the Savoy course, with the fearsome climb of Domancy, was one of the most difficult for the contenders for the rainbow jersey. It suited the Frenchman perfectly, who had promised to offer the title to French coach Richard Marillier, who was about to leave his job. The race was a formality for the Badger, who went on the attack with 150 km to go and crushed all his opponents until the last one, Italian Gianbattista Baronchelli.
It was on this same road, taken for the occasion in the direction of the descent, that Romain Bardet had attacked together with his team-mate Mikaël Chérel to break away from the group of favourites in the final of the stage that he won in Saint-Gervais in the 2016 Tour de France. His victory also allowed him to move up from 5th to 2nd place overall, the best result of his career.
Km 21.5: Combloux (Pop: 2,100)
Victor Hugo called Combloux "the pearl of the Alps in its glacier setting". The ski resort celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2015, but the village, famous for its granite, retains the authenticity of its baroque church, with its double-bulb bell tower, and its old, preserved farms. Combloux is also the starting point for the Mountain Bike Marathon, the longest one-day mountain bike race.
Km 26: Demi-Quartier (Pop: 910)
Formerly part of Megève and now a commune in its own right, the town is best known for its most famous guest, French singer Michel Sardou. Demi-Quartier is, along with Taillepied (Manche), the only French commune whose town hall is located in another commune: in this case, it is on the church square in Megève.
Km 26.5: Megève (Pop: 3,040)
In the canton of Sallanches, Megève is situated on a pass separating the Val d'Arly from the Val d'Arbon. Its important tourist development dates back to the 1910s when the Rothschild family decided to make it one of their holiday resorts. Their aim was to build a French competitor to the prestigious Swiss resort of Saint-Moritz. The aim was to create a resort bearing the symbol of the French art of living. Megève was highly coveted from the outset, with the greatest crowned heads having stayed there. Today Megève is an internationally renowned resort, recognised as one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world. Megève, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Combloux, La Giettaz, Cordon and Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce form a domain of 162 slopes: the "Evasion Mont Blanc" domain. This area has more than 450 km of slopes with exceptional panoramas and a permanent view of Mont Blanc.
Megève is the birthplace of some of the greatest names in French skiing, from Emile Allais, a true legend of the resort who died in 2012 at the age of 100, to the Duvillards (Adrien, Henri), who between them have countless titles and victories.
In 2016, Megève hosted a Tour de France time trial won by Chris Froome. The resort held two grand départs of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1996 and 2004) and saw Richard Virenque win a stage from Challes-les-Eaux in 1998.
Km 32.7: Praz-sur-Arly (Pop: 1,240)
More famous skiers in Praz d'Arly: Patricia and Claudine Emonet, and giant slalom specialist Thomas Fanara.
Km 39: Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe (Pop: 480)
Considered as the cradle of the Val d'Arly, nestled between Mont-Blanc, Beaufortain and Aravis, the ski resort of Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe is a village with a family and authentic character where nature has remained intact and local culture has been preserved. The ski area of Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, surrounded by Mont Reguet and Mont Rond, is part of the Espace Diamant and its 192 km of slopes shared with 4 other village resorts: Crest-Voland/Cohennoz, Flumet, Praz-sur-Arly, and Les Saisies/Hauteluce.
This village of the Val d'Arly is a land of skiers: Jacqueline Rouvier, Catherine Quittet, Roger Rossat-Mignod. Or Nicolas Burtin in Flumet and Patricia Emonet or Thomas Fanara in Praz-sur-Arly.
Km 84: Les Saisies (Pop: 770 Hauteluce)
The resort, often visited by the Tour, is a stronghold of cross-country and downhill skiing, and in particular of the Piccard dynasty, whose eldest son Franck was crowned Olympic Super-G champion in Calgary in 1988.
During the Second World War, the Col des Saisies became a refuge for the Resistance. On 1 August 1944, under the code name "Ebonite", the largest arms parachute drop by the Allies for the Resistance took place: 78 flying fortresses from London dropped 899 containers of arms for the 3,000 men of the Savoy maquis.
Before the development of winter sports, the pass was essentially a vast mountain pasture. The area has been urbanised since the 1970s, culminating in the organisation of biathlon competitions during the Albertville Olympic Games.
The "Espace Diamant" area is shared with the villages of Les Saisies, Crest-Voland, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe and Flumet. The area has 192 km of downhill ski runs and 146 km of Nordic ski runs and is served by 85 ski lifts.
Km 49.4: Col des Saisies (1,624 m)
Rated as a 1st category climb, Col des Saisies has been ridden eleven times by Tour de France riders (not mentioning the Bisanne climb in 2016 on a slightly different route). Last year, Switzerland’s Marc Hischi was leading the way at the top of the climb, tackled by the other side. In 2017, in the Tour de l'Avenir, Egan Bernal won a stage that handed him the leader's jersey. The Colombian since came of age…
Km 60: Villard-sur-Doron (Pop: 710)
This pretty town of Beaufortain is the village of Marie Bochet, four-time Paralympic ski champion in Sotchi in 2014 and then in Pyongcheang in 2018, where she was the flag-bearer for the French team. A 20-time world champion, she has won Olympic gold in all five disciplines of alpine skiing (slalom, giant, Super-G, downhill and combined).
Above the village is the resort of Bisanne 1500, where the peloton returns after a first foray in 2016. Rafal Majka was in the lead then.
Km 66.6: Beaufort (Pop: 2,050)
Overlooking the Doron, the remains of Beaufort castle, built on the ruins of a Roman villa around the 10th century, bear witness to the long history of Beaufort. Owned by the Beauforts, the King of France and then the House of Savoy, it was occupied from the 16th century until today by various religious congregations.
Famous for having given its name to a cheese, Beaufort is also the birthplace of the family of travel writer Roger Frison-Roche. It was here that he fell in love with the mountains that inspired all his work before settling in Chamonix.
The "Prince of Gruyères", Beaufort is a smooth, ivory to pale yellow cheese with a fruity taste of extreme finesse. This pressed cooked cheese is made from the milk of cows of the Tarine or Abondance breeds that inhabit the mountain pastures during the summer months. More than 10 kilos of milk are needed to obtain one kilo of beaufort. Once removed from the moulds, the cheeses are matured in a cellar for 5 to 12 months, regularly turned over and rubbed with a mixture of salt and cheese rind called "morge". Although the monks and breeders of the region have always produced cheese, Beaufort cheese appeared towards the end of the 17th century. Already highly regarded in the mid-18th century, it found its identity around 1860 when two carpenters from the Beaufortin invented the wooden rings that surround it. It has been protected by an AOC since 1968.
Km 93: Cormet de Roselend (1,968 m)
Linking the Beaufortain valley and the Mont-Blanc massif, the Cormet de Roselend has been climbed 12 times by Tour de France riders since 1979. The last rider to lead over the pass was Marc Hirschi last year, on the opposite side. In 2019, the pass could not be crossed due to a mudslide.
Km 112: Bourg-Saint-Maurice-Les Arcs (Pop: 7,230)
From the capital of the Haute-Tarentaise, in winter you have to reach the resort of Les Arcs to fully enjoy snow sports. Bourg Saint Maurice is also an essential starting point for mountain hikes. The town is also a stage town for the Ultra-Trail og Mont-Blanc (UTMB) and the Trace des Ducs de Savoie (TDS). Thanks to its international white-water base, where high-level competitions take place, particularly in canoeing, Bourg Saint Maurice also attracts lovers of water sports.
It is the birthplace of politician Hervé Gaymard (1960), currently President of the Savoie Departmental Council, of chef Guy Martin (1957), who has two stars at the Grand Véfour in Paris (a restaurant he has owned since January 2011), of Jean-Frédéric Chapuis (1989), the first French world champion in skicross in Voss (Norway), Olympic champion in the discipline at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and who has won the skicross World Cup for three years in a row (in 2015, 2016 and 2017), as well as of many other alpine skiers.
The town has hosted the Tour de France four times. In 1939, it was the finish of the first individual time trial on the Tour de France. Yello Jersey holder Sylvère Maes won that day. In 1996, it was another time trial that led to the decline of Miguel Indurain, who was dropped the day before on the climb to Les Arcs. In 2009, a stage from Martigny saw Sandy Casar raise his arms. Finally, Bourg-Saint-Maurice was the starting town for the 12th stage in 2018, won at Alpe d'Huez by Geraint Thomas.
Les Arcs resort
Created in 1968, the ski resort of Les Arcs, perfectly integrated into its environment, has since developed constantly (Arc 1800 in 1974, Arc 2000 in 1979, Arc 1950 in 2003) to become one of the most popular resorts in the Tarentaise valley, with its 200 km of pistes and its links with Villaroger and La Plagne. The resort was listed as a 20th century heritage site in 1999. In 1996 the resort hosted a stage of the Tour de France won by Luc Leblanc.
Km 115: Séez (Pop: 2,400)
The centre of the village is situated at an altitude of 900m in the heart of a mountain range approaching 3,000m and has always held a special place. Indeed, the name Séez comes from the Latin sextum which means sixth milestone. The village of Séez was built on the site of this milestone, an essential stage on the Roman road that led from Vienna to Milan via the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass. The village was also the former seat of the County of Val d'Isère. The identity of the commune has been influenced by its rich history and culture. Today, the village occupies a strategic position in the heart of the Haute Tarentaise and the largest winter sports resorts such as Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d'Isère, Sainte-Foy Tarentaise. It is linked to the international San Bernardo area (La Rosière/ La Thuile d'Aoste) by the Écudets chairlift located 6 km from the centre of the village
Km 124: Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise (Pop: 750)
Finish of a stage of the 2017 Tour de l'Avenir won by Egan Bernal.
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